1. By a small margin; barely: We scarcely made it in time.
2. Almost not; hardly: We scarcely ever used the reserve generator.
3. Certainly not: They could scarcely complain after such good treatment.
Usage Note: Scarcely has the force of a negative and is therefore regarded as incorrectly used with another negative, as in I couldn't scarcely believe it. · A clause following scarcely is properly introduced by when or before; the use of than is usually changed by copyeditors: The meeting had scarcely begun when (or before but not than) it was interrupted. See Usage Notes at double negative, hardly.
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